BREAKING: Burgum Signs Off on Legislature’s Power Grab of State Auditor

Governor Doug Burgum

Last Thursday, the North Dakota Legislature made one of the most egregious moves of the 66th Legislative Session by inserting an amendment into Senate Bill 2004 that strips the State Auditor of his authority to initiate performance audits. It’s a petty and childish move of political retribution from a majority of lawmakers who apparently want to send a message to our current State Auditor Josh Gallion that they’re not happy with him actually doing his job. You know, to bring accountability and transparency to Bismarck.

In the aftermath of SB 2004 passing, a movement took place to contact Governor Doug Burgum and ask him to utilize his line item veto authority to end this power grab. Though Burgum himself was the subject of one of Gallion’s more notorious audits since taking office, I think it’s fair to say that most people felt the Governor was mature enough to rise above political games. Apparently we were wrong.

Today it was revealed on the Governor’s website that Doug Burgum signed the remaining 53 bills of the 66th Legislative Assembly and only vetoed one. That veto took place in Section 19 of Senate Bill 2015. This means that Governor Burgum literally put his signature of approval to stripping the State Auditor of his independent authority to conduct performance audits at his discretion. It’s an unprecedented move.

Going forward, State Auditor Josh Gallion — and his successors — will be required to get permission from the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee before he proceeds with any performance audits. In short, we no longer have an independent State Auditor. The decision of the 2019 Legislature to pass this is beyond bad. And the fact that Governor Burgum didn’t rise above the pettiness of politics borders on unforgivable.

State Auditor Josh Gallion isn’t the only one to take a hit with this decision. The people are the biggest losers today. It’s a sad commentary for North Dakota— where accountability and transparency are apparently to be stifled, not protected.

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Sources:

  1. https://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/66-2019/bill-index/bi2004.html
  2. https://www.theminutemanblog.com/2019/04/25/legislature-votes-to-strip-state-auditor-of-authority-to-initiate-audits/
  3. https://www.governor.nd.gov/news/burgum-signs-remaining-bills-2019-legislative-session
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About T. Arthur Mason 628 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.